Trying to express in words how 'story' played out in my life in 2010 has proven difficult. Story. My secondary word, but in some ways more impactful.
Expressing how God has changed and is changing me isn't easy. Maybe more a maturing. An awakening. Admitting I don't have it all together is frightening.
Some of these changes you can see in previous posts, but it is a story still being written.
Through it all I'm finding my voice. Finding my voice to tell the stories God gives me.
It's never been easy for me to talk about my faith. Shyness along with a pretty non-eventful life always left me feeling like anything I had to share would bore everyone. No stories with sordid details or dramatic scenes. A simple life.
Growing up in a Christian home I never knew how to be anything but a Christian. I walked the aisle in my teens like expected. I believed Jesus was God's son, died on the cross to save me from my sins, was resurrected, etc...I believed all this. I know my salvation was real. But feelings. Feelings could not be trusted or at least lessons learned in church impressed that upon my childhood mind.
But I always wondered. Wondered why I had never really FELT God's presence around me as so many I had heard experienced. As I began digging for myself in scriptures much of what I had been taught by 'church' no longer worked. Baggage comes with second hand knowledge.
The past months have brought unexpected transformation. It's my story. The story God is writing in my life.
In subtle ways the change began over a year ago. I'm not sure any one experience attributes beginning it all. A gradual awakening might describe it best. Although I've had experiences in the past that I knew God was in I suppose they never moved me like the experiences of these past months.
None of these experiences dramatic or tragic. The change evolving through quiet prayers, friendships, gratitude, and study.
My faith moving from a head knowledge to a deep heart knowledge.
The last week of August 2010. A week I can't forget. Two friends. Both battling their own separate struggles.
One friend hurt by unwarranted harsh words behind the back. An afternoon call of tears and frustration. Words of encouragement fall flat, unable to fix the friend's hurt.
Two nights I awake. A heavy sense to pray for my two friends. Friday afternoon a call from the first friend still unknowing of my prayers. Sharing a story of the apology and amazement at the details.
For me, a confirmation of God's presence.
The other friend searching for God's direction. For months I prayed without knowing why. The friend unknowing of my prayers. An undefinable pain in the friend's eyes the only clue. Then the same Friday, an early evening message asking for prayer. A night and day struggling through an internal hell wondering God's plan. The friend will email more later. So I pray through the evening. Praying, drifting to sleep. I wake without reason. 1:55 a.m. the clock reads. Getting up I notice it. The blink of a new email. An email time stamped 1:55 a.m. from the searching friend. Heart pouring out frustration.
My heart aches. Yet still, another confirmation God is there. No longer can I believe in coincidence. God's presence felt.
The next day. A dreary morning, rocking in my favorite porch chair. Listening to the rain. As it falls, eyes closed, praying. Tears. Tears for my friends. Tears for their struggles. Tears of gratitude for their friendships. Then the quiet voice. Feeling God next to me. His presence beside me. Unexplainable.
More stories, more experiences share in this quiet change. No blinding lights. No burning bushes. No tragic happenings. Just a gradual awakening. And it continues. At times I think in preparation.
No longer content being who others expect me to be. No longer content with faith through the lenses of others.
Never thinking I would write again. My first love I had given up years ago given back amidst it all. Finding my voice to share what He teaches me. Lessons of grace, self-worth, and much more. Lessons in prayer. A continuing reassurance of His presence.
So where does my story lead as 2011 begins?
On a journey. Perhaps difficult at times.
A journey of Eucharisteo.....(to be continued.)